80’s Mania Mondays: I’ll Walk Away A Fool Or A King

You would think that a radio station that bills itself as playing “today’s hits and yesterday’s favorites” would have more Billy Joel on the playlist. Most of Joel’s songs that the station does play neatly fit in the weekday “classic lunch,” the one hour where songs older than the early 80’s are often played. So you’re very likely to hear “Piano Man,” “Just The Way You Are,” and sometimes outside of the show, “Only The Good Die Young.” I kid a bit, but only a little. The station does play its fair share of Joel classics. It’s just hard to hear them often when the likes of Meghan Trainor, Ariana Grande and even Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez are getting play alongside the artists of yesteryear. That’s nothing against any of them-they fulfill the “today’s hits” part of the station’s mission statement.

While Joel was never a critic’s choice, he was a choice of the people. Many of his songs have resonated throughout the years with many people. Count me among the many. When I was younger and told people how much I liked Joel’s music, there were a lot of funny looks and shoulder shrugs. What can I say—the man has a way with a pop hook. It is nothing for me to hear his songs played on that radio station and hum or even sing along with the words. His Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II was in heavy rotation during my college years, and this was after I had most of his earlier albums. If ever a greatest hits collection made a statement for an artist, that album made it for Joel.

While that collection had a preponderance of his 70s output, he had quite a few memorable hits during the 1980s. One of those that just so happens to be one of my favorites is “A Matter Of Trust.” From the album The Bridge, released just after the greatest hits set mentioned above, the song was the second top ten hit and third top twenty pop hit released. It just so happens to have a fun video of Joel and his band playing the song in a building with the windows open so that everyone outside can hear the song and get into it.

No matter that he literally dropped the mic on pop music hit-making after 1997 (the last year a song of his charted; he hasn’t released an album of new pop music since 1993); his musical legacy is secure. Of course, he’s now become something like the person he wrote about in his song “The Entertainer”—when Joel now performs in concerts or goes on tour he “makes all kinds of money when he goes on the stage.” That’s what happens when your catalog is full of hits that people will sing along to and reminisce about. You can pick your spots as to when and where you want to perform and what songs you want to do. Of course there are certain songs that would have to be heard, and while today’s song may not necessarily be one of them, I’d hope to hear it if I saw him in concert. Hard to believe that Joel is now 67 years old; for me he might always be that “Angry Young Man.”

So do you like, love or loathe Billy Joel, or have no opinion? Whichever one you choose, I hope you enjoy today’s 80’s Mania Monday song. As always, thanks for reading and listening.

32 Replies to “80’s Mania Mondays: I’ll Walk Away A Fool Or A King”

    1. Thanks Van! I expected to see Piano Man turn up; it truly is a great song. One of the great sights I remember from last year’s World Series was when between innings they played Piano Man and just about everyone in the stands at Citi Field (I think that’s the name of the home stadium of the New York Mets) was singing along. Billy was in attendance, and I bet it warmed his heart to hear the throng belt out the chorus of one of his best known and best loved songs.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I loved Cold Spring Harbor, his whole album was amazing, driving home yesterday from NC, It’s all about Soul came on (listening to my iTunes playlist for the first time in ages) and I had forgotten how much I love the words to that one. Think it came of River of Dreams? album…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kim! To answer your question, yes “All About Soul” did come from the River Of Dreams album. If I’m not mistaken, it also featured Color Me Badd on background vocals.

      So sorry this comment ended up in my spam, and it took so long to get it on the site. I have to remember to check the spam folder more often 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No, I’ve had major computer problems since I’ve gotten back, on the phone with Apple for an hour after driving an hour round trip to visit the store….pray all back to normal tomorrow….The womans got soul….and a whole lot of sadness of having to delete almost 400 emails (blog posts from while i was on vacation). I know everyone will understand, I did get some catch up done but it makes me feel crappy that I couldn’t hit everyone I normally follow. Awesome song…and BTW, was listening to grazing in the grass on vaca,,,thought of you and smiled really big of course 🙂 along with some Al Green….you need some Al my friend…will be watching….hint hint….love ya 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks, Kim! Yes I have been Al Green deficient, something that I hope to rectify soon. Somehow Al keeps getting skipped around here…

        So sorry to hear about the mass deletions and computer issues. And a big smile thinking about you jamming Grazing In the Grass while on vacation…good vibes! Best wishes that you get things resolved soon!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I’ll find out tomorrow, thought i had it resolved, then every day it was an avalanche of things I had addressed, then came back….Groundhog day was never my favorite movie and I certainly didn’t appreciate living it day after day…was up to 450 email, avalanche…..so far so good, cross your fingers….yes….gotta get some Al 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Love it…two great ones from The Nylon Curtain. He took some grief for that album, especially after Glass Houses did so well, but I thought it was a good album with a few great songs. I think it holds up today rather well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I forgot to mention that I did a lip-sync of “Matter of Trust” in a contest held at a private club in Petersburg, Alaska…I placed 3rd. If I had chosen a shorter song, I would have placed 1st – but it was an insult to lose to some asshat doing Jimi’s “Foxy Lady” on air guitar (not even lip-syncing, so WTH?), and in blackface with a horrible wig…and that was in 1990. Go figure, eh?

        That’s one of many delightful events in my life that I’m writing about in my autobiography, LMAO!
        😎

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LMAO! Not blackface AND a wig! Geez. He should have lost just for those crimes!

        That said, if that’s a representative sample of your autobiographical adventures, that book will be a must have! Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Now you know I loves me some Billy Joel. A few of my faves are “Tell her about it.” and “We didn’t start the fire.”
    And of course, “My Life”
    “Keep it to yourself it’s my life!!!” YAAASSSSS!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Another mention of “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” aka a sketch of postwar history in under 5 minutes! Great mention of “Tell Her About It” too. An Innocent Man was a fantastic album, especially the way he incorporated the older styles of music into the songs. Plus it had a ton of hits.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okaaaayy?
        One night I was hanging with a good friend at a LGTBQ dance club and this one guy decided to lip synch “Piano Man.” I noticed that before he started everybody began giggling and/or giving side eyes.
        The club owner looked at me and said “Sweetie, he’s gonna do a rendition of “Piano Man” that you’ll never forget.”
        Let’s just say he was right.
        If I EVER see you in person, I’ll have to do an impression.
        I ain’t never heard no shit like that before:(

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Actually both LGBTQ and GLBTQ are correct. It depends on whether you want to place the G before or after the L. This reflects a split between ‘gay men’ and ‘lesbians’ in the early 1970’s based on the accurate perception among lesbians that gay men were and are just as sexist as straight men. I place the L first because when AIDS hit lesbians took care of the men and saved the movement.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks for that Robert. I have the utmost respect for this community. It’s very important for me to get it right.
        My mom, who has passed away, was like an ‘adopted mother’ for several gay men. They loved their own mothers but they couldn’t talk to them about their relationships so they sought advice from my mom. They were my brothers. Some are still here but some have died.
        I want to write about it but I want to handle it with the sensitivity that it deserves. I’ll have to meditate in that.
        Anyway, thanks again🌹

        Liked by 3 people

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